The 6 Best Types of Birthday Gifts for Adults

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I recently celebrated a birthday. Another long year and another long number added to my age. I believe birthdays should be celebrated – no matter how many birthdays you have had. 😉

Unfortunately, I have noticed that as we get older, we celebrate birthdays less and less. I’m here to say – no more! Birthdays are not just for kids or milestone birthdays!

But, let’s face it. It is hard, as an adult, to decide how to celebrate an adult’s birthday. What do you give a woman who already has everything she needs? (Keyword – needs NOT wants.)

If you have a birthday coming up or are searching for ideas for a friend’s upcoming birthday, I proudly present the 6 best types of gifts for adults. We each have a celebration type – look through the six ideas below to see which one best fits.

A Grown-Up Party

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Does your loved one love a good party? If so, then a grown-up birthday party is a great choice for celebrating the birthday gal. Replace the kid’s party themes with fancy décor. Swap kid’s foods for an elaborate spread, a five-course dinner, or delicious hors d'oeuvres with adult beverages. Some people like nothing more than partying by their friends and family. If this sounds like your loved one, a party’s the way to go.

Travel to Somewhere Special

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Does your loved one have the travel bug? Has she always wanted to go somewhere exotic? Birthdays are the perfect excuse for traveling. Just make sure you choose to travel to somewhere special for the birthday girl. I was lucky enough to be traveling in Japan for my birthday this year – I highly recommend it!

The Perfect Present

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Is your loved one’s love language gifts? If so, then it is time to go shopping! For many women, receiving the perfect present shows them they are loved and known. When it comes to shopping for the perfect present, do not look for things she needs. Instead, this is when you buy the special items she wants.

The Gift of Experience

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Does your loved one have a thirst for adventure? Rather than throwing a big party or searching for the perfect present, this person will be happiest with a gift of experience. Think adventures such as sky-diving or snorkeling or seeing a Broadway show.

A Day of Rest

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Does your loved one work her butt off day in and day out taking care of everyone else but herself? If so, then you should treat her to a day of rest. For some women, this may mean sleeping in and breakfast in bed. For others, this may mean a day at the spa or a day alone.

Act Like a Kid

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Now, there are times when it is perfectly appropriate (and absolutely necessary) to act like a kid. If your friend is feeling especially old on her birthday, this may be just the right moment to remind her that she isn’t. Take her to an amusement park or out to the dive bar you frequented in college.

Which of these 6 birthday gifts appeals to you the most? Let me know in the comments!

Why Animal Print is Always on Trend

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Open any fashion magazine, and you’ll find tons of animal prints. Everyone is all about animal prints today – but the truth is, we have always been crazy for spots and stripes! Since animal prints appeared in fashion, they have never left. However, this year we are seeing far more than usual making it the perfect time for ladies who have been hesitant before to give it a try. Now, ladies, here are some of the best reasons to embrace leopard, zebra, and snake prints.

Allows You to Subtly Show Off Your Wild Side

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Wearing a pair of animal print heels is a perfect way to show your good fashion sense and sophisticated taste. But, it is also a way to let everyone in on a little secret – you know how to have fun.

The Guardian shares, “In his 1954 manual, The Little Dictionary of Fashion, Christian Dior famously wrote that ‘to wear leopard you must have a kind of femininity which is a little bit sophisticated. If you are fair and sweet, don’t wear it.’ And so the connotations have always been that it’s sexy, a bit raunchy, a bit daring, a bit wild.”

Never Out of Style

Once you add a quality animal print piece to your wardrobe, you can wear it for years to come. You can pass it on to your daughters. Why? Because worn the right way, animal prints are never out of style! Beginning in the 1920s, animal prints have made women feel powerful, and that is not going away anytime soon.

Versatile All Year Long

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Another fantastic reason to add animal print to your wardrobe is that it is so versatile. These types of prints can be worn in the summer or winter. Not only can they be worn throughout the year, but they can also be worn in different ways. Fashion embraces animal print shoes, bags, coats, tights, shirts, dresses, skirts, and accessories.

A Way to Stand Out from the Crowd

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As Dr. Seuss famously said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” This is why women go to extraordinary lengths to find just the right purse, pair of shoes, or necklace. We understand that choosing the one right fashion piece can make us stand out from the crowd. When it comes to animal prints, this is especially true. Everyone notices the women in the office with the animal print shoes or coat.

Fun, Fun, Fun!

Last but certainly not least, the main reason to embrace animal prints is that they are so fun! Nothing says “I am woman; hear me roar” like an animal print! They feel frivolous and silly, but they are as far from boring as you can possibly get. They can make any outfit more fun. And, I’m all about having fun with fashion.

PS. No matter your age, you can always rock animal print. I plan to be one ferocious grandmother one day. What do you think?

Spring Cleaning Made Easy

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A clean house makes me happy. But, like most working moms, it is not always easy to stay on top of the cleaning, which is why spring cleaning is so necessary. When our homes are clutter or dirty, we don’t feel our best. It’s true! Reader’s Digest has a great article entitled Who Knew? 7 Unexpected Health Benefits of Spring Cleaning that explains how clutter leads to stress and dust leads to unhealthy breathing.

If you are like me, you know spring cleaning is important, but it also seems overwhelming. I’m here today to share what I’ve learned that has made spring cleaning so much easier. After you read these tips, you’ll feel ready and prepared to take back your house this spring.

The Right Attitude

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First things first – you must have the right attitude. For example, I’m not someone who loves cleaning, but I do love a clean house. So, I have to do the work. By focusing on the end reward, I am more motivated to get started.

Similarly, if spring cleaning feels overwhelming because you are thinking about ALL the things you have to clean, stop thinking about everything at once. Instead, focus on cleaning one area at a time. Prioritize what matters the most. For me, this means prioritizing the places that are used the most frequently and seen the most. Think about it. If you could clean one room in your house, which would it be? Okay. Now that you’ve named the room start there first.

You know the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? This saying applies to spring cleaning. Too often, we think of spring cleaning as one day or one weekend in the spring to get everything done. That’s not always possible. And, for some of us, that feels like too much work. Instead, clean in short bursts of time. Clean one space or complete one cleaning task, stop and take a break. Then, do a little more. If it takes you a week, who cares?

The Right Tools

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Next, you want to make sure you have the right tools to get the job done. I have found that by purchasing the right cleaning products, I save time and my sanity. Why work harder when you don’t have to?

For example, I absolutely love the Swiffer Dry and Wet Sweeping Kits. This 2-in-1 sweeper is perfect for my hardwood floors and saves me so much time and energy. When it comes to cleaning furniture and walls, I use my vacuum cleaner.

I also always stock up on safe cleaning products, soaps, disinfectants, and dusters before I begin my spring cleaning. But, by far, the favorite spring cleaning tool is a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. These things are amazing and can be used to clean practically everything. I have used them to clean my walls after my girls colored them and to clean my appliances.

When it comes to purchasing the right tools, you can’t go wrong with Walmart. Walmart has the best prices for spring cleaning products and offers free 2-day shipping. You can order all you need and have it in time for your weekend spring cleaning extravaganza!

The Right Plan

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Finally, you want to have the right spring cleaning plan. While I already said you don’t have to do it all in one day, you should have a plan to clean it all. This is the time of year when it makes the most sense to clean those spaces of your home that are often neglected (such as baseboards and window screens). I’ve found using Taste of Home’s Room-by-Room Spring Cleaning Checklist helps me deep clean every area of my home.  

Don’t Miss This Spring Cleaning Giveaway!

You can win a cleaning bundle from P&G (Febreeze, Dawn, Swiffer, Tide, etc.) worth up to $100 by sharing a photo of your own Spring cleaning win on Instagram or Twitter and tagging me, #SpringCleaningWin and #Inrachelshoes

Head to my Instagram page to find out more!

Ways for Families to Embrace Earth Day This April

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Did you know that Earth Day is celebrated each April? Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids the importance of respecting the environment. Not only are there tons of online Earth Day resources from respectable sources like PBS Kids, but there are also several community events taking place around NYC on Earth Day (April 22, 2019).

We all know some moms who are super earthy but teaching our kids to respect the earth doesn’t mean we all have to dress/act the same way. I can embrace my love for fashion as well as my love for the great outdoors. So, with that in mind, I am sharing some ways all moms – from the crunchy moms to the fashionista moms – can teach their children the importance of respecting the earth.

Get Outdoors as a Family

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The easiest and most effective way to teach your kids to love the earth is to spend time outdoors. Kids love playing outside! Their curiosity comes to life when they do something as simple as a hike in the woods. By giving them the chance to explore nature, they will come to love and respect it.

Attend an Earth Day Event

A fun way to celebrate the Earth is to take your kids to EarthFest on April 13, 2019, hosted by the American Museum of Natural History. This all-day event is a celebration of our beautiful earth and will include concerts, yoga, hands-on activities and more.

Earth Day New York 2019 will take place on April 23rd at Union Square. This annual event has several vendors, activities, and performances geared at teaching the public how to take care of the earth.

Plant a Garden

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Many New Yorkers don’t have a ton of space to grow a big garden. However, teaching kids the basics of gardening can go a long way when it comes to respecting Mother Nature. For example, if you don’t have outdoor space, plant an herb garden by a kitchen window. If you do have some outdoor space, plant a tree for each child and watch it grow as your child grows.

Volunteer in a Local Park

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Earth Day is a great day to teach your kids to both respect the Earth and the importance of volunteering. Look for opportunities to volunteer as a family to do park clean-ups. These types of volunteer activities work well for families because kids can be assigned simple tasks. NYC Parks has some Earth Day events that will make this possible.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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I don’t expect you to change your lifestyle radically – I haven’t changed mine! But, if we all do something small, we can do something big for the environment. When it comes to making environmentally-friendly choices, consider the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce your waste. For example, Amazon now allows Amazon Prime members to choose only to receive shipments one day a week. Reuse items when possible such as using reusable grocery bags. And, finally, recycle. Teach your children to recycle items rather than throwing everything into the garbage bin.

Go Ahead, Eat Dessert First

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I love a good dessert, and I am all about indulging now and then. But, I recently came across some new information about desserts that has radically changed things for me as a woman and a mom. I bet you are going to feel the same way.

Have you ever found yourself forcing your way through a meal just because you are anxious to get to the dessert? Have you ever told your kid they had to eat all that is on their plate before they get dessert? Have you ever treated dessert like a prize?

Guess what? When you view dessert this way, you run the risk over actually overeating (or making your kids overeat). When you stop forcing yourself to say “no” to sweets, you will be surprised to find you don’t binge eat the way you did before. It’s true!

Eat Like a European

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Did you know that it is common to start your meal with a pastry or tart in European countries? Since Europeans are not quite as obese as Americans, this is an interesting tidbit. They treat desserts differently than we do.

Stop Treating Dessert Like a Reward

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What would happen if you stopped treated dessert like a reward and treated it more like a normal part of a balanced diet? When we treat desserts like an indulgence, it makes it easier to overindulge. Think about it. We always want more of the things we aren’t supposed to have. If we took the danger out of desserts, maybe we wouldn’t allow them to put us in the danger zone.

Even Science Agrees

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The American Psychological Association has studied it, and even they say eat dessert first! In their report aptly titled If I Indulge First, I Will Eat Less Overall: The Unexpected Interaction Effect of Indulgence and Presentation Order on Consumption, they found that individuals who started their meal with their highest-calorie dish first tend to eat less calories overall.

From the report: “The results of four experiments consistently showed that when the first item in a sequence is indulgent, individuals subsequently choose healthier foods and consume fewer calories.” It makes sense to me. If I choose to begin with a dessert, I will likely not stuff myself with other high-calorie foods after.

Moderation is Key

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” - Charles M. Schulz

Like all things in life, moderation is key. While Europeans and scientists may agree that dessert comes first, I don’t think it means dessert comes first at every meal. Or that every dessert should be super indulgent. Some desserts are better than others.

Ultimately, the key is to let go of dessert guilt. When you eat what you want when you want it, you are less likely to overindulge. By taking away the prize of dessert and treating it like a regular part of a balanced diet, we are less likely to feel like we “need” a dessert to satisfy us.

What do you think? Are desserts worth it?

 

6 Reasons to Look Forward to Spring in NYC

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Did you know it is officially Spring? It sure is hard to tell when it is still in the 40s here in NYC! I am so envious of the people down South posting Spring pictures already. But, I know that soon it will feel like Spring. To help me get over my jealousy, I am spending time thinking about all the fun things I can do once the warmer weather moves our way.

Park Hopping with My Girls

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I love taking my girls to the playgrounds around NYC. We have so many great ones to choose from, and it is a wonderful thing to do as a family. We all get out of the house, get some exercise, and have fun. This spring I want to park hop. All this means is I want to explore new parks and playgrounds instead of frequenting the same ones every time.

Seeing the Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn’s Botanic Garden

You know spring has officially arrived when the Cherry Blossoms bloom! The best place to view them is at Sakura Matsuri, the annual cherry blossom festival held at Brooklyn Botanic Garden on April 27th and 28th. It is such a fun, cultural event for families.

Visiting Our Favorite Zoos

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We love going to the zoo, but we’ve learned that some seasons are better than others to visit. For example, if you go to the zoo on a really hot summer day, you won’t see much activity from the animals (probably because they feel just as miserable as you do in the heat). But, if you visit on a nice spring day, you will get to see the animals being more active.

Heading to Coney Island for a Day

Yes, Coney Island is a tourist trap. But, it is still great fun for NY families! Spending a day at Luna Park and exploring the boardwalk will leave your kids happy and tired. The rides tend to open up on weekends around Easter and then daily after Memorial Day.

Eating Outdoors

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I love to eat, but I really really love to eat outdoors. Once the weather warms up and the skies are clear, I love to find restaurants with outdoor seating where I can eat and people watch at the same time. It is also the perfect time of year to plan a picnic. I love hiking and it a picnic afterward makes the hike that much more exciting.

Family Scavenger Hunts at Central Park

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Anyone can create their own scavenger hunt, but did you know there are tons of official scavenger hunts for Central Park? Whether you create your own or purchase a ticket for a group scavenger hunt, you will have a blast searching Central Park for clues!

What are you most looking forward to doing this Spring in NYC?

No More Feeling Guilty for No Reason

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Have you ever lost sleep because of something seemingly small that you did or did not do? Every woman I know has second-guessed herself at some time because she is afraid she has hurt someone’s feelings or let someone down. When you are a working mom, you feel guilty for not doing enough with your kids at home. When you are a stay at home mom, you feel guilty for not doing enough to provide financially.

If you feel guilty more often than you would like, you are not alone. 96% of women feel ashamed at least once a day. That’s crazy! It’s no wonder this generation of women feels stressed out all the time. We are carrying around tons of guilt baggage for things we shouldn’t even feel guilty about doing or saying.

Women, It’s Time to Trash the Guilt Once and For All

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After seeing how guilt does nothing but inhibit me at home, in relationships and the workplace, I am done. I want to get rid of feeling guilty over things that I shouldn’t. I’m sick of saying “I’m sorry” all the time for things I don’t even actually need to apologize for.

I caught myself recently feeling guilty and apologizing to someone recently, and after gaining some perspective realized I had not done anything wrong. They should have been the ones apologizing to me! Why do we do that?

Now that I am more aware of my personal issue, I have done my homework so I can tackle it when it strikes at unnecessary moments.

Here is My No-Guilt Game Plan

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Look for Reasons - First, I am going to look for the reasons. IS there any actual reason for me to feel guilty? If there is, then I need to do what needs to be done to make it right. If not, then I need to accept that this is not my burden.

Identify the Feelings Behind the Guilt – Next, I will question where the feelings of guilt are coming from. Often, we feel guilty because we are really feeling overwhelmed or angry. What are my true feelings about the situation?

Shake It Off – If it was not my fault or was just something minor, I will choose to SHAKE IT OFF. Carrying around guilt baggage will only make life harder. If you can quickly move on, you will be much better for it.

Be Clear with Your Expectations and Limits – Next, I plan to be upfront about my expectations and limitations. This way people cannot expect me to do more and I will not be made to feel guilty because I have been clear about what I can and cannot do.

Accept Imperfection – Finally, I will stop being so hard on myself. There is no perfect woman – myself included. Rather than placing unrealistic expectations on myself, I am going to strive to do the best I can each day and be proud of what I achieved in my 24 hours instead of focusing on what I didn’t do.

Who else is tired of feeling guilty all the time? What is your game plan for tackling guilt?

When a Potential Employer Ghosts You

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I’m going to be super vulnerable here. Recently, I was ghosted after a string of job interviews with a company I was really interested in. Even worse – they seemed really interested in me! I interviewed with a company for over two months and four interviews.  We talked about pay, how my workday will be, etc. The hiring manager was supposed to get back to me about the package and the offer, and then I heard nothing. #Ghosted

What to Do If You’ve Been Ghosted After a Job Interview

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As ridiculous as ghosting a potential employee after an interview is, it happens all the time. You are not the only one who has been ghosted in this way. According to Career Builder, more than half of job candidates say they do not hear back from companies at all.

Before you feel any embarrassment or shame, know that upfront. As I am walking through this myself, here are some things I am doing to help me deal with it.

  • Feel Your Feelings. It happened, and you are allowed to feel upset about it. Allow yourself to be upset by a potential employer giving you hope and then disappearing.

  • Don’t Rage Online or Send Hate Mail. However, don’t allow your disappointment to guide your decision-making. For instance, while you have every reason to be upset and angry, it is never a good idea to blast a company online or to send an angry email. Vent to your friends and family – but do not vent online. It can come back to haunt you.

  • Don’t Give into Negative Self Talk. A potential employer ghosting you does not mean you had a bad interview. Don’t allow this person’s lack of courtesy to lead you down a spiral of self-criticism or self-doubt.

  • Don’t Give Up on Finding an Even Better Job. If a company ghosted you, then you don’t want to work for them anyway. Trust me. There are employers who will value you. Don’t give up the search.

It Says More About Them Than It Does You

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Ghosting interviewees says much more about the company than it does you. If companies are so big that they do not have the time to send a quick email to let you know they are going with someone else, then this is a company you don’t want to be an employee of anyway. It speaks volume of the work culture.

There May Be an Actual Reason for the Silence

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However, it is also important to remember that there may be legitimate reasons you have not heard back. For example, the hiring process may be taking much longer than the company anticipated. Or, the company may have a “no feedback” policy for interviews.

What to Do to Help Avoid Being Ghosted

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Now that you have felt the burn of being ghosted after an interview, you want to make sure you don’t feel that pain again. Unfortunately, you cannot control someone else’s actions. But you can take control of the questions you ask regarding the hiring process in your next job interview. Here are a few things you can do that will help you avoid being ghosted after a job interview:

  • Ask about the hiring timeline.

  • Ask if they will let candidates know if they did not make it to the next round of interviews.

  • Ask what the deadline is for making a job offer.

  • Ask if they will notify candidates that they are going with another candidate as a courtesy.

  • Send a handwritten thank you that also expresses your interest in the job position after the interview.

Have you ever been ghosted during a job search? What was your experience like?

Colgate Does More for Your Whole Mouth

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DoMoreForYourWholeMouth #ColgatePartner #CollectiveBias #ad


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All the Heart Eye Emojis for T.J.Maxx + A Giveaway!

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Oh, T.J. Maxx, my love for you knows no end. As Rod Stewart famously sang, “You fill my heart with gladness. You take away all my sadness. You ease my troubles. That’s what you do.” I could visit your stores every day and still find something new.

If you already love T.J. Maxx or have never had the pleasure of visiting a T.J. Maxx store, I am here to shout my love all across the internet. Trust me – if you don’t already love T.J. Maxx, you will by the time you finish reading what I’m sharing today.

Clarifying Some Untruths About T.J. Maxx

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Some people turn their noses up at the thought of shopping at T.J. Maxx assuming it is a discount store. These snobbish people are making a big mistake.

First, T.J. Maxx is NOT a discount store; it is actually an “off-price retailer.”

Second, the products are not out of style. In fact, T.J. Maxx stocks the same current season items as Macy’s and Nordstrom.

Third, their items are not priced cheap because they are marked irregular. There is only a small percentage (5%) of irregular products sold in the stores.

I’m a Maxxinista. You Should Be a Maxxinista, too.

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Now that I’ve shed some light on the wrong ideas people have about T.J. Maxx, it is time to explain why I love T.J. Maxx. When I shop at T.J. Maxx, I don’t have to sacrifice quality or price to get looks I love. Why spend extra money on the same thing at a different store? Instead, I can go home with more shopping bags full of quality items I adore for the same price I’d spend for one bag at a department store.

T.J. Maxx Has Everything – and Then Some

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Another reason to love T.J. Maxx is that they sell everything – seriously. In addition to the great clothing, you can also find shoes, handbags, accessories, fine jewelry, makeup, and hair products. You can put together your entire look from shopping at this one store. T.J. Maxx also sells clothing for men and children.

But, that’s not all! T.J. Maxx also sells home décor, toys, and pet products. Plus, I recently visited T.J. Maxx to stock up on vacation necessities such as clothing, swimsuits, luggage, beach towels, portable chargers, passport cases, and beach toys for the girls.

It’s Easy to See Why T.J. Maxx is Thriving While Other Retailers are Failing

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Every week, we seem to hear about another failing retail store. However, this is not the case for T.J. Maxx. Whereas other long-time retail stores are closing or merging with other brands, more and more T.J. Maxx stores are opening. It’s because they offer the same products we all love at prices we all want.

My Instagram Maxxinista Giveaway

There is a large scale pop-up in the Flatiron Plaza full of my personal T.J. Maxx picks for going on vacation with the entire family with the coolest things to wear, to bring, and to have fun with! Stop by and check it out! If you can guess the price of everything that is in my pod, you have a chance at winning it all!

Think your Maxxinista skills can help you win? Hop over to this Instagram post and comment and guess the price of my pod.